Valley People 8/12/2009

by AVA News Service, August 12, 2009

MANY LOCALS will remember Don Pierce, and remember him fondly as a friendly, neighborly man who always made time for his community in the years he lived in Anderson Valley. Don died last week in the state of Washington of liver cancer. A Vietnam vet of especially grisly experience, Don, and his then-wife, Judy, and their young daughter, lived on Anderson Valley Way in their Anderson Valley years.

THE OX has been sold. The downtown Boonville premises where Boonville Beer was born is in escrow to “a local person.” Realtor Mike Shapiro refused to divulge anything more about the sale of the structure, empty since the closing last year of the popular bar and restaurant called the Highpockety Ox.

THAT ACCIDENT on 128 in front of the Boonville Fire House last Saturday a little after noon, occurred when George Georganas of Elk suddenly crossed the double yellow line to “head-on side swipe-ish,” in the words of the CHP, a vehicle driven by Adolfo Cervantes of Philo. Goerganas was hauled off by the Anderson Valley Ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Mr. Cervantes was uninjured.

BUT A LOCAL person was startled to learn that his root canal had been performed on the wrong root in the wrong canal, and the patient remains unconsoled that the error might be considered the latest in pre-emptive dentistry.

AND A BEAR was seen Sunday night in an apple orchard at Bert Cohen's place on Lambert Lane enjoying the first Gravensteins.

ALSO FRESH FROM LAMBERT LANE, “Dry farmed roma tomatoes, great for canning, no green stems to cut out. Available at Boont Berry Farm or direct from Farmer John at his Lambert Lane gardens. 25-pound lugs for $15 or u-pick for $10. Call 895-9028.

WE SPENT a good bit of time criticizing AV Unified for celebrating a rigged “silver medal” from US News and World Report last year, a phony recognition we saw as aimed directly at increasing US News circulation among teachers who would foist off its wacky right-wing views on their unsuspecting students. The award was based on Anderson Valley’s unique demographics more than it was on any demonstrable academic achievement. And we were pleased to participate in this merry round of community delusion right down to AV Unified's award to us of our very own certificate of appreciation signed by Superintendent JR Collins.

BUT AV UNIFIED'S JUST RELEASED rankings in the more meaningful Academic Performance Index sweepstakes were truly impressive. We ranked seventh out of ten comparably-sized schools, and about the same as Mendo Unified, a public school district perennially at the top of in-County performance charts. Only Redwood Academy of Ukiah, where inland professionals send their children, scored substantially higher on the API in Mendocino County. Factoring in AV's high percentages of economically disadvantaged students (74%) and English learners (72%) we were right up there with the best local schools.

LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON (August 4) at a little past 4pm, Laurie Schon, 46, and her passenger, William Defrenne, were hurtling westbound on Highway 253 not far from the junction of 253 and 128. Just past the Anderson Creek Bridge where the Hulbert property begins, Ms. Schon unaccountably crossed over the double yellow line and, in the CHP's imprecise description, “head-on/sideswiped,” an older model Cadillac driven by Jose Baroza, 42. One witness said it appeared that the Toyota Corolla was coming down the hill “pretty fast” when it crossed over the line and slammed into Mr. Baroza’s eastbound Cadillac. The Corolla appeared to be a total loss while Mr. Baroza's otherwise immaculate vehicle sustained serious damage to its driver's side, but not to its driver, Mr. Baroza. Given the tremendous impact of the collision, the three persons in the two cars miraculously sustained only what the CHP described as “minor injuries,” although Mr. Baroza was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial by medevac helicopter to be checked out. All three were wearing seatbelts. The CHP said they were unable to estimate the speeds of the vehicles, but Ms. Schon told responding CHP officers that she may have dozed off as she approached the bottom of the hill. The CHP said drugs and alcohol were “not considered an element” in an event which could well have been fatal.

DAVE SEVERN found a Department of Fish and Game tag marked “OFFICIAL EVIDENCE” as he walked from Philo to Boonville in preparation for what Severn says just might become his walk across the country if his training trudges demonstrate to him that he can do it. So far, he says, his AARP-qualified body is telling him it can do it. Severn says last weekend he walked the six miles from his Philo home to the Boonville Fire station in a mere one hour and forty minutes. Which is not 3,000 miles and three months, but the distance and time are certainly positive indicators that Severn's proposed trek from Philo to Philly is doable. Back to the tag he found. It was attached to a short piece of knotted twine, and appears to have been in the weather for a while. “Seized by” is faint but appears to read “Dan Powers,” a local game warden. “Owner or Shipper” could be someone with the last name of “Kem,” and “Kem's” address is illegible but the zip code looks like 94500 which is Antioch in the East Bay. “Description” of the item(s) seized ends with “…diver glasses, weight belt, mask and snorkel.”

CATHY FREY, executive director of the Alliance for Rural Community Health, told the Press Democrat last week, “The governor’s budget cuts have delivered a death blow to Potter Valley Health Clinic, a 27-year-old community institution,” which has announced that it will close its doors on August 21. Community health clinics throughout the state were hit hard by the latest budget cuts, Frey added. But most of the others are not as heavily dependent on state-funded programs as Potter Valley's clinic. The Anderson Valley Health Center in Boonville is not in as dire fiscal condition, but is instituting salary cuts and other savings to stay solvent. Neither clinic is eligible for federal stimulus funds, Frey said.

A NEW ORGANIZATION called “Mr. Glean,” has formed in The Valley. Glean, rhyming with lean, and both implying thrift in ever more austere times, or waste not want not, as our grandmothers reminded us before mass profligacy set in, “Mr. Glean” will gather as much perishable, canned or packaged food from the lushly productive Anderson Valley this harvest season then systematically distribute it to the needy. “Since it's been documented that close to 50% of food waste is edible, we feel that with volunteer effort and at little cost, we can be of greater help to support the community schools as well as the food banks and possibly a future soup kitchen in Anderson Valley. We have been taking excess food to the local foodbanks and to the Plowshares program in Ukiah from our ranch (near the foot of Nash Mill Road) for a couple years now. All of these food distribution centers are reporting significant increases in people needing food with the continued economic hard times.  The Mr. Glean effort supports those food programs, especially the Anderson Valley Food Bank and community schools. We also would be happy to direct excess food to drop offs around the County,” says Mr. Glean. There is absolutely no cost to donors. For more information call 895-2772.

DAVE EVANS, the amazing Dave Evans of Navarro Store Presents, said Tuesday morning that the House of Floyd show last weekend was great but not as well attended as it might have been if there hadn't been so many other events underway in Boonville at the same time Saturday night. Dave expects a big rebound in attendance when the famous Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings appear this Saturday night under the Navarro redwoods.

STEVE SPARKS explains why The Valley's bon vivants clustered in Boonville last Saturday night. “Both the annual Airport Hangar Party and the Hawaiian Luau to benefit public radio station KZYX&Z were very well attended with the Airport Flying Corps giving over 150 plane rides and the Luau attracting over 200 people which was about a third of those in attendance at the Quinciñera held on Saturday evening at the Fairgounds. As for the benefit for the AV Ambulance held at The Fairgrounds, the Lions Club hosted and once again, with Justin Clarke, Ed Slotte, Kevin Lee, and Derek Wyant on the grill, the tri-tip was nothing short of superb. The tri-tip accompanied by a baked potato, salad, garlic bread, dessert, and a lemonade along with the beer/wine and hospitality provided by Christine Clarke and the rest of the Lions Crew meant that the event was very enjoyable indeed. We always thank the volunteers at all our events, so, 'Great job guys,' But this crew was exceptional so it’s worth mentioning them twice: 'Great job, guys!' Over the three hours the turnout was pretty good and hopefully plenty of money was raised for that very important cause. This coming weekend sees the Spaghetti Feed for AVHS Sports on Sunday the 16th with a 5pm Social Hour for 6pm Dinner at The Apple Hall. Your support would be greatly appreciated by all, particularly the kids who, due to the current education cuts, only get to play thanks to the generosity of our community.” ( Steve Sparks)

I WASN'T THE ONLY local gardener to scurry home at lunch time Monday to water his plants, flower plants, I hasten to add, as temperatures soared to 101 in downtown Boonville. That traditional saving grace of summertime Anderson Valley, the marine layer, formerly known as fog, is due in Wednesday afternoon, and lucky us to live near enough to the ocean to be cooled by it.

ANDERSON VALLEY has two Soda Creeks, one running behind the Navarro Store, the other at mile marker 3.5 on the Ukiah Road where, old timers will remember, a colony of smallish turtles also made their home at the foot of the boulder around which the Ukiah Road Soda Creek flows. Both our Soda Creeks produce a little carbonated water. The Soda Creek on the Ukiah Road used to feature a small pipe at the end of which was attached a tin cup for passersby who felt a little bit of bubbly was just the thing.

NOT FAR from the Ukiah Road Soda Creek there's said to be a haunted cabin that so unnerves its young tenants they recently summoned an exorcist to see if she could put an end to mysterious door rattlings and candles suddenly extinguished on windless days as if by an unseen hand. Among the ghost's bag of tricks, fully on exhibit during the exorcist's recent expunging visit was, a witness reports, a sudden weariness that overcame the two young dudes occupying the cabin, one of whom reported, “My arms got so heavy I couldn't lift them.” The other exclaimed, “I suddenly felt so tired I couldn't move.” The exorcist advised the bedeviled young men to, well, exhibit themselves to the ghost and it would flee. Or exchange itself for a cop if a passerby on the nearby Ukiah Road happened to notice a young man waving his genitals at an invisible presence.

VIOLET RENICK attended Saturday's KZYX fundraising luau at the Boonville Fairgrounds, commenting Monday that “it was very nice but I didn't see a single other old timer there.” Violet added, “What do you call them? Hill muffins? There were lots of them, the men in shorts and expensive sandals and the women nicely dressed in summer dresses.” When one of the Muffs asked Violet how long she'd been in The Valley, Violet, a Pomo Indian, casually replied, “Oh, 14,000 years or so.” The only old timer who comes close to matching Violet's seniority is her brother Art Knight, who also has about 14,000 years local residency on the rest of us. Violet, raised on Anderson Creek across the road from the Evergreen Cemetery, lives in Redwood Valley these days, Art in Lake County, and the sky gods of whatever ethnicity never made two better people.

AN ENTERPRISING young man named Jim Bowen stopped by the other day, and darned if he wasn't the Jim Bowen, a graduate of Anderson Valley High School and the son of the late Jim and Dorothy Bowen of Boonville. Jim Jr. is now an electrical contractor doing business as All Phase Electric in Ukiah “Where quality isn't expensive, it's priceless” and where Jim can be reached at 468-1179.

LAST WEEKEND'S Western States Babe Ruth playoffs featuring youths 13-15 at Ukiah's little jewel of a ballpark, the revamped Anton Stadium set against Ukiah untouched west hills, drew this rave from an inland baseball fan. “Hell yes, there were some good ballplayers! A Palo Alto outfielder named BJ Boyd looked like he could play Double A ball right now, and a Torrrance kid has prospect written all over him. Real good caliber ball. And Ukiah did pretty well, winning one of three games but getting edged out by a strong Utah team, 6-4.”

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